ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Clean Power Plan Faces Constitutional Challenges In Court.

In coverage in advance of oral arguments over the Clean Power Plan before the DC Court of Appeals, Forbes Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports that “Industry lawyers will start out in the morning, followed by former Obama mentor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School and David Rivkin of Baker Hostetler, who will present the core constitutional argument” centered on accountability.ClimateWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Holden, Subscription Publication) reports that the outcome of the Clean Power Plan oral arguments “will determine whether the United States can make good on the promises it made as part of the global accord.”

Legal Challenge To Clean Power Plan Unlikely To Be Resolved Before Obama Leaves Office. The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Dennis, Marimow) examines the legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan being heard by an appeals court in Washington DC this week. The Post claims that the legality of the rule is “almost certain to remain unresolved when Obama leaves office,” but that the “outcome of the case ultimately could shape the president’s environmental legacy and influence how millions of Americans get their electricity.” Ann Carlson, an environmental law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, noted that “What the court has to say about [the] EPA’s authority … will be important for future administrations. It will have consequences.”

Ex-EPA Head Whitman Wants Court To OK Clean Power Plan. Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman writes for TIME Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) that Clean Air Act “has proved to be a powerful tool for reducing dangerous air pollution and protecting public health” while “driving innovation and without hampering economic growth.” As the DC Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hear arguments in a case challenging the CPP, Whitman writes that the “EPA’s authority to move forward with regulating carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act is not a matter of debate.” The Clean Power Plan offers states “extraordinary flexibility in how they comply with their obligations” and “was not proposed in a vacuum,” given that “huge market-driven shifts in the power sector toward cleaner sources of generation were underway well before” the plan.

Higher Education

NSF Gives South Dakota Mines Grant To Help Women In Engineering Courses.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports that the National Science Foundation and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation for its Culture and Attitude Program has given the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology a $1.1 million grant for “a program that aims to attract, retain and graduate more women and other underrepresented students in engineering.”

NSF Gives Texas Colleges Grant To Develop Drone Curriculum.

The Corpus Christi (TX) Caller-Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Garcia) reports that the National Science Foundation has given Texas’ Del Mar College and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi a $788,000 advanced technological education grant to support “Del Mar’s continuing development programs involving unmanned aircraft systems. The three-year grant will run until June 2019 and will allow Del Mar’s geographical information systems students to continue degree plans and purse a bachelor in GIS or digital information mapping at A&M-Corpus Christi.”

Ohio State Engineering Students Work On Electric Car Land Speed Record.

Ars Technica Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/21) reports that the electric vehicle company Venturi and Ohio State University have collaborated on a car called the Venturi Buckeye Bullet-3, which has set a new land speed record for electric vehicles of 341MPH at the Bonneville Salt Flats.Popular Mechanics Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/21) reports that former OSU graduate student and team leader David Cooke said the car consists of “two motors sharing a cooling system and a common shaft.” CBS News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/21) publishes a brief video segment on its website.

APLU Launching Public Relations Campaign.

Politico Morning Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports the Association of Public Land Universities is launching a PR campaign aimed at countering “public outrage over rising tuition and congressional scrutiny over the use of endowments,” among other negative perceptions about public universities. The organization maintains that “public universities are still the cheapest way to earn a four-year degree” despite state funding cuts. The campaign “will focus on affordability.”

Companies Turn To German Apprenticeship Program To Fill Skills Gap.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Schulze, Subscription Publication) reports companies operating in the US are looking to Germany’s apprenticeship approach to vocational training in order to fill America’s skills gap. Americans view a four-year college degree a more viable path to high-paying jobs than a two-year degree, so the apprenticeship program is a seemingly better alternative that allows participants on-the-job training, a recognized certificate in their field, and a chance to stay on with the company they worked for.

Scientific American Editorial Argues Against Favoring STEM Over Humanities.

An editorial in Scientific American Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) takes issue with political leaders who are “trying to nudge higher education toward course work that promotes future job prospects,” saying that it is “deeply misguided” to promote STEM courses “to the exclusion of the humanities.” Both areas of study, the editors write, are vital “for the U.S. economy to continue as the preeminent leader in technological innovation.”

Liberal Arts and Engineering Education
The Teagle Foundation’s Liberal Arts and the Professions initiative embeds the liberal arts in undergraduate engineering education by forging curricular links between faculty in the disciplines and professional fields. The result is students more fully appreciate the social, cultural, and ethical dimensions of their work. To be considered for a grant, read the application guidelines and submit a 3-5 page concept paper to Contact Loni Bordoloi Pazich at for more information.

Maker Summit
The ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016  is a two-day event (Oct 27-28), hosted by Arizona State University in partnership with SciStarter, exploring the crossroads of citizen science and the Maker movement. Registration now open with discounts before Oct 1. Read ASEE’s Maker Report.

Profiles Survey Now Open
The annual Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology Schools survey is open. Make sure your institution is included in this important report.

Research and Development

Commentary: Fighting Cybercrime Hinges On Educating Public, Funding Technology.

In commentary for the Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/24) , New York Institute of Technology President Edward Guiliano writes about the challenges of fighting cybercrime and the resulting need for cybersecurity professionals, citing Cisco figures estimating a dearth of some one million such workers worldwide. He says that the public must be educated about the realities of cybercrime and the need to “encourage those who can to fund the technology needed to thwart cybercrime.”

NSF Giving Cornell University $23 Million For “Center For Bright Beams.”

WENY-TV Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Elmira, NY (9/26) reports that the National Science Foundation is giving Cornell University $23 million to “establish a new Science and Technology Center called the Center for Bright Beams.” The center’s goal is “to contribute to scientific advances in chemistry and biology by enhancing accelerator capabilities” and to “develop tools to predict, design and test the impact on cellular function of changes to their internal organization.”

Science And Technology Center for Engineering MechanoBiology To Study Single Cells.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Jost) reports, “A joint effort between Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania received a $23.6 million federal grant” to create the Science and Technology Center for Engineering MechanoBiology, “an effort to understand how single cells work.” The center will study “what they react to and how they can be used or developed to prevent diseases, boost crop practices and more.”

US Army Research Laboratory, UK Defense Ministry Partner On Information Science.

ExecutiveGov Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Clemens) reports the US Army Research Laboratory and the UK Defence Ministry have partnered regarding “distributed analytics and information science” to bolster “situational awareness during military coalition operations.” Partners in the alliance include companies such as “IBM, BAE Systems, Raytheon’s BBN Technologies subsidiary,” and Airbus.

Industry News

Opinion: Tesla Vulnerability Shows That Cybersecurity Must Be Part Of Vehicle Design.

In an op-ed for The ComputerWorld (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26), Adrian Davis, managing director with nonprofit Internet security educational organization (ISC)2, argues that the recent demonstration of vulnerabilities with Tesla vehicles that show it could be “hacked from 12 miles away” illustrates that the “explosive growth in automotive connectivity may be rapidly outpacing automotive security.” Davis says that cybersecurity must be part of the “concept, design, engineering, and production” of new vehicles. Davis concludes that what is needed is a “culture of ‘security by design’ among all designers, engineers and manufacturers of products that connect to the internet.”

Android Fans Replace Phones Faster Than iPhone Users.

A new study cited by USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Newman) reports that Android users are faster to replace their smartphone devices than iPhone owners. Part of the reason for that, according to the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners sponsored report, is that Apple is slower to upgrade technological advances, along with the brand’s higher price point.

Engineering and Public Policy

House Waterways Bill Faces More Opposition.

In continuing coverage, The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Zanona) reports Democrats are opposing another part of the House waterways bill “because a portion of the $810 million in authorized funding would go toward splash parks, baseball fields and covered basketball courts.” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, “is blasting” a Texas project “tucked into the underlying legislation,” and is “urging the House Rules Committee to include an amendment that would prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers budget from being used on sports fields and splash parks.”

Commentary: 3D Printing Could “Revolutionize” Transportation Infrastructure Construction.

In a TechCrunch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Harrington) “Crunch Network” piece, Parsons chairman and CEO Charles “Chuck” Harrington writes that 3D printing technology can “revolutionize the transportation infrastructure industry” especially because “bridges require much longer parts to construct than, say, a car or plane.” Harrington acknowledges that “much more research and development must be completed before we can realistically expect to ‘print’ any bridges with additive manufacturing.” Yet, he explains that if engineers successfully identify an instantly-curing concrete with the strength and stiffness required for bridge construction, then “additive manufacturing would improve precision and quality control while reducing waste, costs and congestion during infrastructure construction projects.”

House Committee To Hold Hearing On Commercial Drone Regulations.

In its rundown on regulations, The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Wheeler) says that the House Small Business Committee plans to hold a hearing “on the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulatory framework for commercial drone operation” on Tuesday.

Ex-EPA Chief Perciasepe Says Natural Gas, Renewable Trends Will Endure Beyond Election.

Bloomberg BNA Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Scott) reports former acting head of the EPA Bob Perciasepe said Friday at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference that broad regulatory and investment trends favoring natural gas and renewable energy and are driving down US carbon emissions are likely to endure regardless of who wins the presidential election. Congress has locked in production and investment tax credits for renewable energy for four or six more years, “and that’s not going to go way unless Congress overturns itself” by rolling back the incentives it put in place in a December 2015 funding extension, said Perciasepe, now president of the Center for Climate & Energy Solutions.

Kansas City Receives Top Recognition For Easing Solar Installation Process.

The Kansas City (MO) Star Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports Kansas City is among 14 cities across the US, “along with Gladstone and Columbia in Missouri, to be given top recognition for making it faster, easier and cheaper to do solar energy installations.” The SolSmart program, which is funded by the Energy Department, “recognized cities Monday across the country that are ‘open for solar business,’ reducing soft costs and helping to attract solar industry investment.”

Indiana School District Switches Buildings To Solar Power.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports Sheridan Community Schools in central India “said it expects to save millions of dollars over the next 20 years by getting all of its electricity from solar power.” The school district “now has an array of about 5,900 solar panels between its elementary, middle and high school buildings.” Superintendent Dave Mundy believes “the move will allow the district to have more control over its utility costs.” Mundy stated, “It’s something any school should look into. … Balancing a budget and trying to (estimate) the utilities cost is the hardest thing to do in school finance.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Virginia State University Algebra Program To Promote STEM Among Minority Students.

Diverse Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports that Virginia State University is using a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to promote “the Algebra Project, a unique approach to teaching mathematics that was developed by civil rights activist Bob Moses.” The initiative “will work with school districts in Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia, as well as New Orleans and Philadelphia to increase the number of underrepresented minority students entering college with the skills to be able to pursue a STEM major and career.”

Non-Traditional School Showing That All Students Can Succeed At Science And Technology.

U.S. News & World Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Lucadamo) reports that according to George Washington University science education professor Sharon Lynch, “preliminary research on inclusive science and technology high schools is promising.” Lynch has “participated in two studies, one comparing typical inclusive science schools to traditional high schools and another looking at exemplary inclusive science schools.” Results of the most resent studies “39 inclusive science and technology schools and 22 traditional high schools in North Carolina and Texas” presented in June to the American Educational Research Association shows that 60 percent of North Carolina high school seniors “seniors at the science schools had taken calculus or precalculus on average, compared to 38 percent at traditional high schools. In Texas, the difference was smaller but still higher at science schools.” Lynch said, “The trends are all in the right direction.”

Monday’s Lead Stories

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